Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Peru Travels 2006

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Zeonon Huaman Vargas and his wife and son. I liked the encouraging "thumbs up" I received from his son.... They also have 36 bee hives up on the hill and shared a bottle of their amazing "coffee flower miel" with me.
At Las Delicias, as the daylight faded, on the drying patio and mill of the Huaman family, all 3 generations. The grandmother's last words to me, either remarkably savvy, emotional or otherwise, really touched me. She said "Please don't forget us."
And so we returned to the coffee town of Quillabamba - an early morning shot of the town square and mountains in the background.
In the Quillabamba Plaza de Armas (all main squares are called this), these amazing fruits, whose name is also written in my notebook, lost in transit...
Unique shelters for the benches in the Plaza de Armas, Quillabamba
My walk around Quillabamba and photos of paintings, signs and storefronts - I really like these things. And I always get a laugh out of chickens serving chickens etc.
A very appropriate mural - don't burn our home. There is way too much slash and burn agriculture and it ruins topsoils and pollutes air and streams.
How DO you prevent Diarrhea? Now you too know...
Oh those parasites are so darn cute though... but this is a great idea - instead of people needing to come into this clinic for help, all the basic preventative information is on the outside walls!
Lotsa political party grafitti everywhere. Nice fish tho ...
A place to fix your fleve
Or if your Ferrari breaks down while driving though Quillabamba. Then again, all roads in and out of town are dirt - does Ferrari make an SUV yet?
Sample photos at a photographer's studio. I liked the one in the upper left. Dad's who dress up their kids as paramilitary, hmmm.
Library, papershop, but also a "virtual library" with internet. Hmmm... any computer could become a business as a virtual library - not bad.
They need a girl.
I am just not so sure that a cock-eyed, cross-eyed tiger is the most intimidating icon of security.
As I said, Quillabamba is a coffee center for the entire surrounding area, so in town there are lots of storehouses and buyers for Oro Verde - coffee in parchment form
Nice airbrush for Club of Ciclism...
I liked the detail even better - this guy needs a shave and a shower. Or maybe its the testosterone, cortisone steroids and EPO in his system.
happy, happy, happy.
"Quieres Muerto Hoy" ...Do YOU want to die today? Isn't that from a movie? I like how they use the friendly, familiar Tu form, not the stuffy Usted form.
My favorite doorway in town
Random scrawling
Dollars, Dollars, Soles, Soles (the money of Peru. 3.2 Soles per Dollar at the time of my visit.
Another nice motorcar - many are Indian made by Bajaj ...
but check out the sexy sticker on the side window. Woo-woo.
Departing Quillabamba, some odd grafitti. In english? Kinda heavy...
On the way out of town we passed though a tea district and I must admit I have never seen tea.
Here is a better view. Tea is also grown under shade here, like coffee, so it helps counteract deforestation to some degree (as opposed to ranching and coca production.)
Traveling out of Quillabamba, up to the pass (Abra Silcllaccasa)and to Urubamba on the other side. It is amazing how many zones of totally different vegetations you can pass through in one day in this area.
Traveling up I finally saw my first true bamboo in Peru (up till then it was various segmented grasses and Carizo, which is used for roofs). This is a Chusquea type native to South America, usually climbing bamboos that use the forest to support them, and that way reach quite tall (but would flop on their own). The most popular is Chusquea Coleau (I have a couple at my house). I think this is a bit different though, Here we are at around 9000 to 10,000 feet!
We started to see alpine mosses and an environment much more adapted to the cold and constant fog of the Andes.
The tree line as we approached La Cumbra - the pass.
Interestingly, the pass was closed (we knew that) for a huge construction project to regrade the north side. It was open from 12 to 1 in the afternoon, then 6:30 and beyond, but is known for being very dangerous in the dark, foggy night. So you need to coordinate your plans to get there before or at noon to make it all the way through the closed section. Here, a blasting zone, workers taking lunch.
Over the pass and looking down the other side, again a complete change in vegetation. This is the pass called Abra Malaga in the Urubamba Cordillera.
The gap between 2 dramatic precipice down the east side.
It was cold. In Peru you go from overheating to freezing quite rapidly sometimes.
Shepherd housing to tend the flocks at high elevation, a creek in the foreground.
Ruins of a shepherder's shelter at around 9,000 feet.
Pre-Incan ruins along the roadside. Apparently it was part of a bridge, dam or aqueduct.
Cliffside ruins of Inca structures above Ollantaytambo. I feel sorry for the guy who had to go out on the sheer clif and lay the first stone, but then again he was most likely a slave from a distant conquered tribe and the Inca elite could care less!
Part of an Incan facility on an outcropping at Ollantaytambo. The town was an Inca military and commercial stronghold within the Sacred Valley.
A more fortress-like appearance to these buildings
A typical street in Ollantaytambo with a combination of Inca stonework and later adobe additions.
The entrance to Ollantaytambo, which was also part of their aqueduct. Throughout the valley their appears to be sophisticated water controls, to match the well-known terraced agriculture. Remember, the Inca were late-comers, and were not really around that long before the diseases of the Spanish (followed by the Spanish themselves, led by Pisarro) showed up
Leaving Ollantaytambo, a really beautiful walkway.
Along the road we stopped to check out the Chicha offerings, although I was not too interested in a taste (it is not really fully fermented and can give those unaccustomed to it an instant stomach ache). Anyway, Chicha is basically a corn beer, made from malted (sprouted) corn and fermented just a short period of time. I am told it is best at 3 days.
The selection of corn grown by the Quechua in Cusco is amazing, and you would think they were just for ornament. Lightly toasted, we enjoyed a snack of one that, remarkably, had the distinct flavor of oysters! I don't think many locals in the area would make that connection since there are no oysters anywhere near Cusco
They also raised Cuy, Guinea Pigs, and it wasn't as pets for the local kids, I can tell you.
Lunch in Urubamba - amazing, as was most food I enjoyed in Peru. Their version of a Relleno, a boiled corn with huge seeds, fresh cheese, This meal cost about $3.50. Lunch is the big meal here, and they eat small dinners.
Luis, buried with a view.
Urubamba, on the way out, in the Sacred Valley. By the way, we started to see tourists again in Ollantaytambo and Urubamba, but basically saw none in Quebrada Honda or Quillabamba. Tourists seem to stop where the paved road ends.
Just an incredible landscape. I thought I might be in Montana or Wyoming for short periods in this strip of the road.
Returning to Cusco (I follow their spelling, but mostly you see it spelled Cuzco)
We went shopping at the huge local market - great stuff. Not so touristy either. Did I mention that the main square, the Plaza de Armas, is loaded with international tourists whereas I didn't see any in the hour I spent at the market (looking mostly for alpaca for Maria to knit). I love things made from cans...
Later Castillion additions in Cusco aren't bad either! Notice the piers where there once was a balcony
Incan walls are a thing to behold. Each stone tailored on the spot to fit into the complex rubric.
And you think we know something of craftsmanship - this stone was formed without metal tools - only stone tools!
Inca stonework, the protrusions were handholds to help the slaves carry them, sometimes from as far as 12 miles away
Again, remarkable

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